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Monday, 17 February, 2003, 15:16 GMT
Key points: UN inspectors' report
Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei
Reports could be crucial in deciding whether there is war
Chief UN weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei have delivered crucial reports to the Security Council.

Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix:

  • Mr Blix opened with a summary of weapons inspections so far. There had been 400 inspection missions in 11 weeks.
  • If proscribed weapons exist they must be presented for destruction. If they do not exist, credible evidence to that effect should be presented

    Hans Blix

  • He noted Iraqi co-operation on the process of inspections.
  • However, he said that many proscribed weapons and items were still not accounted for.
  • "If they exist they must be presented for destruction. If they do not exist, credible evidence to that effect should presented.
  • Unmovic had begun to destroy 50 litres of mustard blister agent. One-third has already been destroyed.
  • Iraq had accepted an offer from South Africa to help it disarm, based on South Africa's experience of getting of rid its own nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the 1990s.
  • Inspectors' access to sites had so far been without problems, including presidential sites and private residences. Mr Blix said in no case had Unmovic seen convincing evidence that Iraq knew of inspections in advance.
  • The movement of munitions at the site [reported by the US] could just as easily have been a routine activity as a movement of proscribed munitions in anticipation of an imminent inspection

    Hans Blix

  • The declaration submitted by Iraq on 7 December on its weapons programmes "missed the opportunity to provide the fresh material and evidence needed to respond to the open questions".
  • These questions surrounded the issues of missing anthrax, the nerve agent VX and long-range missiles.
  • "This is perhaps the most important problem we are facing. Although I can understand that it may not be easy for Iraq in all cases to provide the evidence needed, it is not the task of the inspectors to find it. Iraq itself must squarely tackle this task and avoid belittling the questions," Mr Blix said.



  • Monitors had found two variants of al-Samoud missiles in Iraq with a range exceeding 150 kilometres, the limit imposed by the United Nations. Monitors were also told that engines imported by Iraq were intended for use in those missiles.
  • Papers produced by Iraq gave no new evidence, but Mr Blix said the presentation of papers could be indicative of a more active attitude on Iraq's part.
  • The period of disarmament through inspection could still be short, if immediate, active and unconditional co-operation with Unmovic and the IAEA were to be forthcoming

    Hans Blix

  • The papers handed over by Baghdad suggested that some biological and chemical materials could have been poured into the ground years ago, but this had not been verified. The names of people involved in the destruction would be useful, Mr Blix said.
  • A number of scientists had declined to be interviewed unless an official was present or the interview could be taped. Three interviews were carried out before Unmovic's talks in Baghdad - these had proved informative.
  • Mr Blix appeared to question the US interpretation of satellite photos that Secretary of State Colin Powell said a week earlier showed suspicious activity at an Iraqi weapons site.
  • "The reported movement of munitions at the site could just as easily have been a routine activity as a movement of proscribed munitions in anticipation of an imminent inspection," he said.



  • Inspectors planned to increase the use of reconnaissance aircraft next week, to introduce drone spotter aircraft supplied by Germany, and take up the offer of a Russian aircraft with night surveillance capabilities.
  • Information given to the inspectors had also led to a visit to a private home, and some information on arms. The inspectors had established that conventional weapons were being moved around the country. But, Mr Blix said, this had not led to any conclusions regarding weapons of mass destruction.
  • He concluded by saying: "If Iraq had provided the necessary cooperation in 1991, the phase of disarmament - under resolution 687 (1991) - could have been short and a decade of sanctions could have been avoided.
  • "Today, three months after the adoption of resolution 1441 (2002), the period of disarmament through inspection could still be short, if immediate, active and unconditional cooperation with Unmovic and the IAEA were to be forthcoming."


  • Secretary-General of the IAEA Mohamed ElBaradei:

  • Mr ElBaradei said more work needed to be carried out on levels of radiation at various sites around Iraq. He said new equipment was needed to check gamma ray levels in a broad variety of samples to analyse them for signs of nuclear activities.
  • The IAEA was still exploring whether imported aluminium tubes were for gas centrifuges which could be used for enriching uranium, or for rockets. Iraq has been asked to explain the high specifications of these tubes.
  • We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear related activities in Iraq. However, as I have just indicated, a number of issues are still under investigation and we are not yet in a position to reach a conclusion

    Mohamed ElBaradei

  • There was no evidence that high explosives suitable for use in nuclear weapons had not been used, as Iraq stated, for mining purposes.
  • "While the documents have provided some additional details about Iraq's laser enrichment development efforts, they refer to activities or sites already known to the IAEA and appear to be the personal files of the scientist in whose home they were found. Nothing contained in the documents alters the conclusions previously drawn by the IAEA concerning the extent of Iraq's laser enrichment programme," Mr ElBaradei said.



  • The adoption by Iraq of legislation banning weapons of mass destruction, announced earlier in the day, was a step in the right direction.
  • The IAEA intended to increase the number of inspectors, conduct more interviews and to use drones and U-2 planes to monitor movement around sites.
  • "We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities in Iraq. However, as I have just indicated, a number of issues are still under investigation and we are not yet in a position to reach a conclusion about them, although we are moving forward with regard to some of them," Mr ElBaradei concluded.

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    Should UN inspectors be given more time?

    Yes
     66.07% 

    No
     33.90% 

    30577 Votes Cast

    Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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